1 Michelin Star Chefs: Conor Toomey, head chef, Condita

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd December 2019

Conor Toomey is the head chef at ONE MICHELIN-STARRED Condita in Edinburgh.

Originally from South Africa, the chef worked as a sous-chef to Michael Wignall at The Latymer when it had two Michelin stars before joining Coworth as head chef, followed by two years at Storrs Hall Hotel and just over a year at Amberley Castle. 

Condita

 

15 Salisbury Pl, Edinburgh EH9 1SL

Telephone: 0131667 5777

Website and reservations:  condita.co.uk

Opening hours:

Reservation only 

Tuesday-Saturday: 7-9:30pm

Sunday-Monday: Closed

Twitter: @ConditaR

@conortoomey80

Instagram: @condita_restaurant

Facebook: @ConditaR

The chef

Prior to Condita, the chef replaced Paul Leonard at Isle of Eriska - which, incidentally, also earned a Michelin star in the 2020 guide.

While most chefs tend to define their style of cooking, Conor says his is fluid, and says his cuisine has been influenced by his own chef mentors as well as an affinity for Asian flavours. 

Owner and fine dining consultant Mark Slaney said he knew as soon as he met Conor that the chef understood his vision for the restaurant, and the pair work closely together to develop dishes and decide on wine pairings.

Condita

Condita was more than two years in the making, according to owner Mark, a self-professed perfectionist.

Located in the outskirts of Edinburgh's city centre in a former shop conversion, the restaurant, described on its website as an 'intimate dining experience,' only has six tables and opens on a bookings only basis.

Furniture is second-hand McIntosh of Kirkcaldy, and the interior decoration - in the form of origami and coloured banners  - is changed seasonally. 

Customers are given a choice of a five or eight-course 'surprise' tasting menu at £50 or £80 a head.

 

What the guides say

Michelin

 

 

 

 

This helps avoid food waste, especially important to owner Mark, as produce is often foraged, or comes from the restaurant's walled kitchen garden - which, because it is located in the Scottish Borders, benefits from the region's good soil quality.

Thus, ingredients are seasonal and - for the most part - organic. 

An eight-course meal at Condita could be poached mussels topped with seaweed emulsion served with caviar in an edible potato and squid ink shell; nage-poached haddock in crispy chicken skin with confit egg yolk and crème fraîche; Yakitori-style boned chicken-wing stuff with smoked eel; sourdough made with a three year-old starter and served with goat's cheese butter; Celeriac - salt baked, remoulade, deep fried and made into a cream -served with celery oil; salt-aged roe fillet with wild leeks, chicory, black pudding purée and crumble, gravy, golden beetroot purée and mustard seeds; parsnip parfait served with cocoa butter, honey foam and honeycomb; and finally, a rhubarb parfait served with custard encased in white chocolate and a rosemary crumble.

The restaurant has received rave reviews from Scottish critics Joanna Blythman and Gaby Soutar, with the former calling Conor's cooking "technically highly accomplished yet anchored by a sympathetic, highly intuitive understanding of the flavour properties and potential of ingredients."

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd December 2019

1 Michelin Star Chefs: Conor Toomey, head chef, Condita